Several central Texans were among the 4,200 passengers stranded on a Carnival cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico for four days after a fire in the engine room.
Some of them headed for home just as soon as they got to shore.
Others took some time to rest in Galveston hotels before making the trip.
It is a happy return for some who at times didn't even know if they would make it back alive.
"This was their honeymoon cruise that they never had, and it turned out to be their nightmare cruise," says Donna Huck, mother of Krystal Parra who was on the ship with husband Domingo.
They call their time on board the Triumph, "three days of heaven and four days of hell."
"We kept saying how could this happen to us," Krystal said.
When the lights went out, passengers began screaming, and the Temple couple wondered if they would make it out alive.
"We grabbed our life jackets, we were freaking out," Krystal recalls.
Soon, backup generators came on, and other ships started bringing supplies.
"That was really rough, just sitting there doing nothing, and then all these ships coming up to us, like why can't they get us on their ship?" said Krystal.
The sewage system failed, and the stench of human waste permeated through the decks.
"Our room was actually on the very bottom deck, and it smelled really, really bad," said Domingo.
They say worst part was having to go to the bathroom in hazard bags.
"Even when you walked along the hallway, some of the people were just putting their bags out in the hallway, you would pass by, you would know what it was," said Domingo.
They'd huddle around power strips with other passengers trying to charge phones.
Krystal said, "Every time there was ship by, we would try to get service to get out to our families."
Back home in Temple, Krystal's mom, Donna Huck, was desperate to reach them.
"She texted me to tell me they were ok, but not knowing has just been the hardest part," said Donna.
Then Thursday she got the call she'd been waiting for.
"I just kept constantly crying, I was so glad to hear her voice, and know she was so close," Donna said.
Now this terrifying chapter is closed, and Krystal and Domingo's arms are open wide.
"I feel like we have a lot to do with our kids that we need to make up for being gone so long."
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